Pros: "Better seats, ride height and rear bench room"
Cons: "V6 Take off not as responsive as previous models."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I'm a jeep guy, been driving them for decades. In addition to three CJ's (still have the 86 I'm rebuilding), and two grand wagoneers, this will be my third Grand Cherokee with the Laredo package. I favor the Grands for everyday, on-road with some trail use, primarily for my wife and kids and safe travel in snowy conditions. I would never take these out 'muddin'.
My first was a 98, a solid little wagon with thickly padded seats and a very responsive in-line six. Small and light for it's size, it was great off-road. I put 130k on it without issue, (gave it my Son).
I then purchased a 2005, I was not crazy about the V6, but it was quick and responsive. Nor was I crazy about the Diamler SKU that made parts/labor much more expensive. Lots of cheap plastic components that broke and were expensive to replace/repair. The rear bench lacked room/padding and was useless for long trips, (it's not fun taking the minivan on vacation). I blew a head gasket at 110k, drove it to 129k and traded the 2005 in for a post-leased 2012 with 48k miles in practically new condition.
With the 2012, I was quickly impressed with the heavily padded seats (like my '98) and the much improved rear bench (to the kids approval). There were many improvements/organization under the hood, (and moving the battery inside the cabin to reduce corrosion was a plus).
I also liked the improved ride height, it's more like a truck. The improved interior head room is also noticeable and nice over the 2005.
My only gripe is that the V6, from a take-off, is not as responsive as the previous two models, (giving it lower marks in my book). Otherwise, the ride is much improved, (more car like than truck like with previous models).
The Nav/Entertainment panel is confusing to my wife,(read the manual, hun).
Overall, I'm confident that Jeep has done much to raise the bar in terms of comfort,(as expected of the Grands) to provide another vehicle that will, (hopefully like the '98 and '05) outlive it's payments and be a joy to keep for many years to come."